Recently my family was offered access to a condominium in the Beaver Creek Resort near Vail, Colorado. If you are in the Vail area or just driving by here is what you need to know before going on a day hike at the Beaver Creek Resort.
You can take a day hike at the Beaver Creek Ski Resort. The resort is an outdoor recreation hub, and hiking is an option. The resort has a series of well-marked hiking trails for beginners and more advanced hikers alike. You can use the ski lifts to access higher areas and enjoy amazing views.
How to Get to Beaver Creek Resort
If you are considering going on a day hike at Beaver Creek Resort, then you will need to get there first. Beaver Creek is about 2 hours, 109 miles, west of Denver, Colorado on Interstate 70. After you get off the highway at exit 167 for Avon, you will wind your way through some roundabouts, proceed through the gated entrance to the resort. There are a couple of parking lots with shuttle services up to the village.
You could also park in Avon and then walk three miles up to the village. It is a moderate slope, but if you are not an avid hiker, then your energy for any other hikes might be depleted. The road to the resort has a walking and biking path on it, and the scenery is lovely.
Once you are at the resort you will certainly want to walk around to check out the shops in the village. It reminded me a little bit of the European ski resorts that I have visited. There is an element of old-world alpine charm in the architecure. I used to take my family skiing in Cortina d’Ampezzo and Beaver Creek brought back some memories of the Dolomites in Italy.
Make your way to the main chair lifts at the southwest corner of the resort in front of the Beaver Creek Chop House restaurant. There is an information kiosk there with free color maps of all the hiking and biking trails for summer visitors. From there you can decide which route to take and where to go. You can also get a day pass for the chair lifts and start hiking at higher elevations.
Two Great Hike Options for Families
The first hike we did together at Beaver Creek Resort was on Allie’s Way. We walked up the Cinch Trail, which is essentially a gravel service road in the summer. It is a moderate up hill walk on Cinch to the Allie’s Way trail head. Allies Way then cuts across the ski slopes and through beautiful Aspen groves. We found claw marks from a black bear while taking shelter from an afternoon rain shower.
When Allie’s Way ends, you can either go uphill along Beaver Creek toward Beaver Lake or go downhill along the creek and back to the resort. The Beaver Lake trail back to the resort is a pleasant walk with plenty of creek access, a great reward for young hikers. As you continue down the creek back to the resort, you will find the Five Senses walking path along the creek that has some interpretative stations that are fun for children or adults. This route took us about three hours round trip with lots of stops for photos and enjoying a rest by the creek. I hiked this entire route by myself the morning before we left, and I was able to do it in 60 minutes without stopping.
Another suggestion for a moderate hike is to take the Centennial Express Lift to the top and then follow the Royal Elk Trail toward Beaver Lake. The Royal Elk Trail cuts across the ski runs at about 9,000 feet above sea level. The ski runs are divided by wide stands of high altitude conifers such as spruce and fir. The cutoff for Beaver Lake is a short leg that goes uphill for about 20-30 minutes. The rewards are worth it. Beaver Lake is a pristine, high mountain lake set into the surrounding peaks. The lake is staffed by a small army of adorable chipmunks that are conditioned to hikers and will begin to gather around you to ask for food as payment for trespassing in their backyard.
From Beaver Lake, you will continue downhill on the Beaver Lake trail, which follows Beaver Creek back to the resort. As an alternative, you can take Allie’s Way. About halfway back to the resort area along Beaver Creek trail, you can take the Allie’s Way trail through the aspens and then the Cinch Trail back to the resort. This hike on the Royal Elk Trail to Beaver Lake took us about nine hours with lots of stops and two children to encourage. We spent about an hour relaxing at the lake. The water is pleasant for a dip, but you cannot stay in it for more than a minute or so without risking hypothermia on a sunny day. When I dove in other hikers cheered, which indicated to me that what I was doing was crazy.
A More Challenging Hike
For more ambitious hikers, I suggest walking from the resort up the Beaver Lake Trail to Beaver Lake. From there, you could cut across the Royal Elk Trail toward the Spruce Saddle Lodge at the top of the Centennial Express Lift, where you could stop for a refreshing drink. From there you can descend on the Overlook Trail back to the resort. The Overlook Trail winds its way down through the spruce and fir trees, which eventually give way to the aspen groves. It is well marked and maintained.
The entire ski area is criss-crossed with trails so if you have time, you can spend all day hiking. Some of the trails are multi-use for mountain biking and hiking while others are strictly for mountain biking. Check the map. There are also horse-only trails, which is another activity on offer at the resort.
Eating Options in the Resort Village.
During our two weeks at the resort we only ate out twice due to the pandemic. The first place we at was the Beaver Creek Chop House which has plenty of outdoor seating and great views of the mountains. Prices are reasonable for the area and the American fare was delicious. We also ate at the NYC style pizza joint called Blue Moose Pizza. As a former NYC resident and Italian passport holder I was pleasantly surprised. The pizza was fantastic paired with a local microbrew.
Amid the village along Beaver Creek, there are some picnic areas with outdoor grills that are free to use. They are tucked into the aspen trees right along the creek. They are relatively private, and the surroundings are beautiful. If you drive up to the resort, you could pack everything that you need for a family barbeque.
Vail is a ten-minute drive away on Interstate 70 and has, even more, eating options on offer. We ate at Sweet Basil with some friends from Texas that were in Vail at the same time. Sweet Basil offers very high-quality American fusion food. Everything we tried was excellent.
Beaver Creek Resort is a beautiful environment for a day hike experience. It is in the White River National Forest – the most visited of all the national forests. The trails are fun to explore and offer plenty to discover along the way. I highly recommend spending a day at the resort if you get the chance.